Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to temporarily lay off more than 100 workers amid COVID-19 outbreak

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is being forced to issue temporary layoffs. Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News / File

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will temporarily lay off more than 100 people, as the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced at least a month of postponements and cancellations.

As of March 29, 67 orchestra members, 30 administrative staff, and 14 Sistema teachers will be without a gig.

“The orchestra business is a very fragile one at the best of times,” said WSO executive director Trudy Schroeder.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and the decision was not an easy one, or taken lightly.”

The Centennial Concert Hall announced earlier this week all events and rehearsals until April 15, 2020 are either postponed or cancelled, which has resulted in 11 WSO events being impacted.

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This is in addition to the previous concerts which were scrapped.

The orchestra also has a planned tour of The Netherlands in May, which may be in jeopardy.

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“What is certain, though, is our priority to do whatever is needed to plan for a positive return to work for musicians and staff as soon as possible,” Schroeder said.

“These are our colleagues and friends. Our instinct is protect each other, especially at a time like this.”

Ticket holders can donate their tickets for cancelled performances back for a charitable tax receipt.


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